PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Newsday [Trinidad and Tobago]
May 19, 2022
By Janelle De Souza
The Roman Catholic Church will investigate allegations of child abuse in the December 2021 Judith Jones Report on children’s homes.
In a press release on Wednesday, Archbishop Jason Gordon said the investigative team would include independent and qualified experts in the fields of psychology, childcare/social work, law and human resource management.
The investigation was launched in response to the 139-page report entitled Safeguarding Children in Community Residences and Child Support Centres in TT which was laid in Parliament on April 29 by Minister in the Office of the PM, Ayanna Webster-Roy.
“The Church takes seriously any and all allegations of this nature, and in this regard has immediately launched an investigation to now verify the truth of the allegations. We note the statement on page ten of the report that, ‘This report aims not to establish the truth of the allegations of abuse, but to acknowledge the allegations, examine the system that facilitates a failure to safeguard children in these spaces and provide recommendations for improvements.’”
The church controls 12 children’s homes and nurseries but specifically mentioned in the report were the St Jude’s and St Dominic’s children’s homes.
Gordon thanked the task force led by the retired judge for their work on the report and said every step would be taken to determine the facts and act appropriately “in accordance with our public duty.” The church’s report would also provide recommendations for improvements.
“These allegations grieve our hearts, and we shall do everything we can to bring healing and justice.”
Gordon did not mention if allegations of abuse at the homes contained in a 25-year-old report by another task force led by Robert Sabga, which surfaced this week, would also be looked into. The Sabga report is said to include claims of abuse by a nun at one of the Catholic-run homes.
Calls to Gordon went on unanswered.